Key Characteristics

The Large Black is a hardy breed able to cope with most conditions. The black skin makes the breed very good at coping with sunburn and a popular choice in hotter climates. Average Litter Size is around 8.56 piglets- (2009 data) and the breed has good maternal instincts.  The Large Black is a very docile breed that can be enclosed using a two strand electric fencing system. Despite the breed’s size handling is not a problem. The breed kills out white and there is no black rind on bacon joints. 

  • The Large Black is a large breed. Sows weigh around 300kg and boars 350kg.
  • It is a long, deep bodied pig.
  • They are completely black in colour with distinctive lop ears.


  • The Large Black is Britain’s only all black breed of pig. 
  • The origin of the breed is reputed to be that in the 18th century two boatloads of all black pigs from China docked in Cornwall and East Anglia and were used to breed with the local pigs. 
  • The breed also has its origins in the Old English Hog of the 16th and 17th centuries. 
  • The Large Black Breed Society was formed in 1889 and the breed became popular and was widely exported. 
  • A focus on the Large White, the Landrace and the Welsh breeds for commercial production affected the Large Black population and when the RBST was founded in 1973 the breed was on the Critical list.


The Large Black is known for producing succulent, tasty meat and is an efficient convertor of low quality feed. A more specialist role is “Parma ham” type production. The breed is dual purpose meaning it can be killed at a lower weight for pork production or taken to a higher weight for bacon production.

Did you know?

The Guinness Book of Records lists a Large Black belonging to A.M.Harris of Lapworth as having produced the largest number of litters- 26- between 1940 and 1952.

Breed Societies

For more information visit British Pig Association